50 fabulous things to do in Suffolk in 2022

Southwold Arts festival

Southwold Arts festival is one of the highlights of the Suffolk calendar. - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Make 2022 the year you really celebrate everything Suffolk has to offer. Events and attractions are back in business and ready to welcome you with open arms. Here's a taste of what's to come...

The Festival of Suffolk 2022

The most important celebration of 2022 is a series of happenings from May to September when the whole county unites for Suffolk’s biggest community event ever - and everyone’s invited. Spearheaded by the Suffolk Lieutenancy, the Festival of Suffolk will shine a spotlight on all aspects of Suffolk life to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Some events will be unique to the festival, some are regular, annual celebrations around the county and in local communities, some will see the county reflecting national celebrations.

The aim, says Clare, Countess of Euston, Lord-Lieutenant of Suffolk, is to bring together all people and communities in joyful celebration, and create a powerful legacy to increase the visibility of Suffolk and improve local lives for years to come. “Together, we will shine a spotlight on Suffolk, opening up opportunities, connections and improvements for everybody.”  

Here are some events already in the calendar – more will be added, so keeping checking the website at festivalofsuffolk.org

The Queen’s Green Canopy in Suffolk - a UK and Commonwealth project launched by The Queen and the Prince of Wales to celebrate the Jubilee. The aim is to plant over 775,000 trees in Suffolk – one for every citizen. The total so far is 240,000. 

May 14 Festival of Suffolk Race Day  
Newmarket Racecourse 
A day of high fashion and excellent racing. 

A race day at Newmarket will be part of the Festival of Suffolk

A race day at Newmarket will be part of the Festival of Suffolk - Credit: Archant

May 16 – 27 Torch Relay 
In the days leading up to the Suffolk Show, a Festival Torch will be carried around the county, to celebrate local communities and to honour local heroes. 

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May 31- Jun 1 The Suffolk Show 
Trinity Park, Ipswich 
A celebration of all that is special about Suffolk. Visit the special Elizabethan Era Exhibition and walk down the new Jubilee Avenue planted with 70 Queen Elizabeth Acers in celebration of The Queen’s 70-year reign. Watch the Festival Torch arrive after its journey around the county, and see the Festival Pageant as it parades through the Grand Ring and Showground. 

Suffolk Show

The Suffolk Show returns... - Credit: Archant

June 2 Beacon Lighting across Suffolk 
On the evening following Trooping the Colour, from 9.15pm to 11pm Suffolk will be ablaze in celebration. The Queen will be lighting the first national beacon in London at 9.15pm, and Suffolk Lord Lieutenant Lady Euston will light the first one in Suffolk, on the beach at Lowestoft. 

June 3 – 26 Aldeburgh Music Festival 
The festival opens on the same day that a service of thanksgiving for the Queen’s reign will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral. The 2022 festival at Snape Maltings will offer a wide range of events from the familiar to the less familiar: opera, world premieres, artists in residence, leading performers, orchestras and ensembles alongside rising stars, talks, films and more all taking place at venues across the Suffolk coast, with Snape Maltings – officially opened by the Queen in 1967 - at the centre.

June 11 RHS Festival of The Sea 
The Royal Hospital School hosts a Festival of the Sea spectacular, celebrating the Royal Navy and its historic links to Suffolk. Events, exhibitions, experiences and fun for all the family. Full details to be announced. 

St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds

A service will be held at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds later in the year as part of the Festival of Suffolk - Credit: Archant

June 12 Suffolk Jubilee Service 
Representatives from Suffolk organisations gather at St Edmundsbury Cathedral for a special Service of Thanksgiving in honour of The Queen.

June 20 - July 1 Suffolk Business Expo 
Showcasing the county's businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs. Suffolk Business Expo events will be announced in the new year. 

June 30 Suffolk Youth Games 
Look out for announcements about the Suffolk Youth Games - where to watch and how to participate.

July 1 Book Launch
A new book, Suffolk Garland for The Queen, will be launched with contributions about Suffolk by residents of the county. 

September 10 Festival Finale - Let’s Rock! 
From midday to almost midnight at Trinity Park, just outside Ipswich, Let's Rock is a celebration of all things pop and 80s, featuring icons from the decade performing to a crowd of all ages. 

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Go west...

Bury St Edmunds Whitsun Fayre - May Bank Holiday Sunday & Monday
Bury St Edmunds town centre becomes a sea of spring colour with plant and flower stalls, craft stalls in Buttermarket and Cornhill, a selection of food and drink, charity stalls and a Flower, Food & Craft Market on Angel Hill. Free entry. Details at ourburystedmunds.com

West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village and Country Park
Ring Quest returns to West Stow in the 2022 February half term for its 20th anniversary celebration. Explore Tolkien's world in this Lord of the Rings themed family challenge that promises to be bigger and better than ever. This year the grand prize will be a two-night stay at the incredible Pod Hollow. (weststowpods.co.uk)

In June you can join Dragon Fest when the village celebrates all things dragons with themed performances and activities including walk-about characters, puppet theatre, combat skill training, music and crafts. From nest building, dancing and storytelling for younger visitors to learning how to protect your dragons, drum workshops, holistic treatments and stalls, there is something for all ages. Dates to be announced - check at weststow.org

Bury St Edmunds Fringe Festival
April 1-30 instagram.com/buryfringefestival
facebook.com/buryfringefestival

Hidden Gardens of Bury – July 3 
Organised by and in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care, the Hidden Gardens festival gives you the chance to discover the inspirational gardens behind the facades and high walls of some of Bury’s beautiful buildings. You’ll find secret patios, lush lawns, blooming borders, vegetable gardens, greenhouses and other features. hiddengardens.co.uk 

Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink Festival  
August Bank Holiday Sunday & Monday 
Cooking demonstrations from top celebrity chefs, the chance to try and buy food and drink from over 100 stalls and a popular farmers’ market. Free entry. 
ourburystedmunds.com/foodanddrinkfestival 

Bury St Edmunds Sci-Fi Exhibition
October - dates to be confirmed
A taste of Hollywood at Moyses Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds. See screen-used props, screen accurate replicas, original artwork and much more from the world of sci-fi and action including Star Wars, Doctor Who, Marvel, DC Comics and more. Photo opportunities with costumed characters and special guests. moyseshall.org

Abbey 1000

The Abbey of St Edmund 1000th anniversary celebrations
Postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic, a year of celebrations has been planned for 2022 to mark 1,000 years since the founding of the Abbey of St Edmund by King Canute. For the full programme of events go to visit-burystedmunds.co.uk/abbey-1000

Abbey 1000 promises a series of exciting events to celebrate the millennium of the Abbey of St Edmund.

Abbey 1000 promises a series of exciting events to celebrate the millennium of the Abbey of St Edmund. - Credit: Rebecca Austin

Anniversary Tours
April 1 - November 20
Bury St Edmunds Town Guides’ season of daily town walks, plus tours focusing on various aspects of the Abbey and St Edmund, bring to life the significance and enormity of the Abbey, shedding light on what life was like for those living within its walls as well as for those on the outside. Special tours have also been devised for children. burystedmundstourguides.org

Bury St Edmunds BioBlitz
May 20 & 21
In the Abbey Gardens and Water Meadows, Bury St Edmunds, hunt for as many species of plant, insect and animal that can be found. 

Abbey 1000 Concert
May 28 

St Edmundsbury Cathedral IP33 1LS
Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra plays Elgar’s Enigma Variations; Britten: Fanfare for St Edmundsbury; Parry: I Was Glad; Paul Carr: Into The Light, the world première of a new work specially commissioned for Abbey 1000. suffolkphil.org

Abbey 1000 Sculpture Exhibition
May 1 - November 30

The Abbey Crypt, The Abbey Gardens, Mustow Street IP33 1X
A monthly changing display of sculptures on display where the shrine of St Edmund would have stood. Schools and artists are being invited to create artworks on a theme of the story of the Abbey and St Edmund. Among the sculptures will be The Monk designed by Nigel Kaines and created by Kevin Baldwin of Designs on Metal. 

Secrets Of The Abbey: History Returns - Exhibition Of Manuscripts 
May 2 -June 9

Seven manuscripts from the Abbey Scriptorium are being reunited for the first time in their place of origin since 1539. Written and decorated by hand by monks in the Abbey, they will be displayed in the Cathedral Treasury. The manuscripts are on loan from Pembroke College, Cambridge where they were donated by William Smart (Portreeve of Ipswich) in 1599. stedscathedral.org/abbey-1000-events

MR James Lecture
May 26 

The Athenaeum, Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1LU
MR James is best known for his ghost stories, but his work as a medievalist scholar remains highly respected and researching the Abbey of St Edmund was a lifelong passion. His seminal lecture on the Abbey of St Edmund was delivered at the Athenaeum on Thursday, April 21 1932, and 2022 will mark the 90th anniversary of his lecture.

Picnic in the Park
July 16

The Abbey Gardens, 22 Mustow St,  IP33 1XL
A community picnic in the Abbey Gardens held by West Suffolk Council.

St Edmunds Day Weekend Spectacle of Light
November 17-20 

The Abbey Gardens, 22 Mustow St,  IP33 1XL
A three evening Spectacle of Light show projecting images of illuminated manuscripts from the Abbey onto historic buildings plus a light trail through the Abbey gardens and ruins in partnership with West Suffolk College.

Best of the fests

Woodbridge Mind Body Spirit Festival 
April 16 & 17 

Woodbridge Community Hall, Woodbridge IP12 4AU

INK Festival
April 21-24

Halesworth
Bigger and better than ever - four days and eight venues including the festival HQ at The Cut, The Rifle Hall, MR King & Sons, The Halesworth Museum, and more. Each venue will show hour-long performances of four or more short new plays, showing several times during each day. More than 50 brilliant, short new plays, performed by more than 50 actors. Performance poetry, stand-up comedy, kids’ Play-in-a-Day, an art show in The Cut Gallery, a community stage with more than 16 locally written plays and great food. Plays written by Miranda Hart, Will Gompertz, actor Elliot Cowan, as well as many first-time writers, young and old, selected from over 2,000 entries. Luke Wright headlines an exciting line up of performance poets. John Morton, the writer of the English version of Call My Agent (which launches in 2022) will be in conversation with journalist Tracey Macleod. Peter Fincham, previously director of TV at ITV, controller of BBC One and director of hugely popular Clarkson’s Farm, will be in conversation with actor and festival patron Helen Atkinson Wood. Each evening there will be a special show with one of these fabulous entertainers – Arthur Smith, Shaparak Khorsandi, Mark Steel, and Arabella Weir. Tickets go on sale February 1. inkfestival.org

21st Aldeburgh Literary Festival
May 5 - 8 

Started in 2002 by John and Mary James of The Aldeburgh Bookshop, the festival features an extraordinary variety of talks and author events. Details of 2022's event yet to be released - check at aldeburghbookshop.co.uk

Suffolk Walking Festival 
May (Dates TBC)

Suffolk Walking Festival is one of the country’s largest and longest running walking events. Since its launch in 2008 it has developed a loyal following with a wonderful mix of walks for all abilities and all ages. In 2018 the Fringe Festival was added, a series of events and activities where walking takes a backseat as you get close to nature in the very heart of Suffolk’s countryside. Plans for 2022 are underway with a programme of walks exploring the varied landscapes, historic villages and meandering footpaths of Suffolk. suffolkwalkingfestival.co.uk

Suffolk Walking Festival 2018

Suffolk Walking Festival will be back for real in 2022. - Credit: Archant

Beccles Food & Drink Festival
May 28

A lovely festival in the town with over 50 artisan food and drink stalls, local food producers, growers and purveyors from the Waveney area. becclesfoodfestival.co.uk

Red Rooster Festival
June 2-4

Euston Hall, Euston IP24 2QH
Cajun, soul, rock n roll, blues, roots &country. Tickets, line-up and info at redrooster.org.uk.

Leestock Festival
June 3-4

Melford Hall, Long Melford CO10 9AA
Charity based music festival in memory of local musician Lee Dunford who died aged 21 from Hodgkins Lymphoma. All proceeds donated to the Willow Foundation and other local causes. leestock.org 

Taste of Sudbury
June 18

Melford Hall, Long Melford CO10 9AA
A celebration of local food and drink held in the wonderful grounds of the estate at Melford Hall. The festival will be packed with local food and drink stalls as well as a cookery demonstration marquee showcasing the best of local chefs and artisan producers. tasteofsudbury.co.uk

Justine Paul photographed in Hadleigh Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Justine Paul of Suffolk Market Events welcomes you to Tastes of Sudbury - Credit: Archant

Felixstowe Book Festival
June 24-26

A mixture of socially distanced events, held at Harvest House, and online live-streamed interviews with authors from their sofa to yours. felixstowebookfestival.co.uk

First Light Festival
June (TBC)

Lowestoft 
A 24-hour, multi arts festival celebrating one cycle of midsummer sun setting and rising over the beach in Britain’s most easterly town. Music, dance and theatre performances, art and science activities, DJ sets, comedy routines, open mic sets, poetry readings, community swims and film broadcasts. firstlightlowestoft.com

Southwold Arts Festival
June 25-July 2

Various venues in and around Southwold 
Always an exciting line-up - watch for announcements  in the new year about visiting artists, writers and performers. The event will start with a Street Festival in Southwold High Street on Saturday June 25. It's also the 150th anniversary of Adnams Brewery and the festival organisers are working with them to make it a doubly memorable celebration. southwoldartsfestival.co.uk

Parade to mark the opening of the Southwold Arts festival

The parade to mark the opening of the Southwold Arts festival which returns this year. - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Bardfest
July 1-2 

Bardwell Playing Field, Bardwell IP31 1AH
Music, real ale, food and more. bardfest.com

Maverick Festival 
July 1-3

Easton Farm Park, Woodbridge IP13 0EQ
Americana music festival in Suffolk over three days with 6 stages and a wide selection of musicians from the USA & UK. maverickfestival.co.uk

Rhythms Sans Frontieres
July 1-3    
Euston Park, Thetford IP24 2QH

A new music festival with open air and big top stages and an eclectic and diverse line-up of DJs and performers, spanning genres from Indie, Latin, Hip Hop and Jazz Fusion to Indian Bhangra, Reggae and Afro-Beat. Dedicated venues for interactive daytime music and dance workshops including African Drumming, Beatbox, Street Dance, Yoga and much more. rsffestival.co.uk

Bures Music Festival
July 6-10
St Mary’s Church, Bures 

25th anniversary year, a multitude of musical genres from jazz to blues, rock to pop, popular choral night, internationally known bands and musicians. buresmusicfestival.com

Clare Priory Craft Fair 
July 9 & 10 (provisional date) 

This popular craft fair has been hosted at Grade 1 listed Clare Priory since 1993, attracting up to 10,000 people. It has a unique atmosphere and setting and all proceeds go to charity. Expect everything from blacksmithing, wood craft and leatherwork, textiles, ceramics, furniture and metalwork, to jewellery, lace-making, art, plants and flowers, artisan food and drink, glassware, clothing, candles and beauty products. Clarepriory.org.uk 

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Primadonna Festival
July 29-31

Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket IP14 1SL
The first literary festival in the UK to specifically give prominence to work by women. Writers, editors, readers, publishers, artists, thinkers, comedians, performers, musicians and foodies, sharing experiences, exploring new ideas and imagining new possibilities. primadonnafestival.com

Ipswich Music Day
July (date TBC)

Christchurch Park, IP4 2BX
Music in the park - eclectic and quality line-up every year and a mainstay of the county's music calendar. ipswichentertains.co.uk

Latitude Festival
July 21–24
Henham Park, near Southwold NR34 8AQ

The festival of high summer in Suffolk – the line-up's yet to be announced but you can bank on the usual mix of great music, dance, comedy, poetry, theatre, literature, podcasts, family activities and wellness. Tickets and info at latitudefestival.com 

The children's area at Latitude was full of fun for all the family. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Latitude offers fun for all the family. - Credit: Archant

Folk East 
August 19-21
Glemham Hall, Little Glemham IP13 0BT

The festival celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2022 and promises a line-up that reflects the past decade…and beyond. Tickets and information folkeast.co.uk

Art on the Prom
September 4 September 
Felixstowe Promenade

More than 100 artists from East Anglia and beyond displaying and selling original artwork, free art activity tents, live music and entertainment. artontheprom.uk

Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival
September 24-25
Snape Maltings, Snape IP17 1SP

This celebration of Suffolk's thriving food and drink scene attracts thousands of food and drink lovers, top chefs and food writers, local producers and growers over the two days. Expect an interactive family area, Saturday Kitchen-style panel, festival stages featuring all-things foodie with live cooking demonstrations, talks, debates and discoveries, hands-on masterclasses, street food and live music. aldeburghfoodanddrink.co.uk

Spill Festival
Ipswich, autumn (Date to be announced)

International festival of live art, activism and performance presenting the work of exceptional artists from around the globe. Don't miss the famous Pyre Parade for the ceremonial burning of bad news. spillfestival.com

Chorus by Ray Lee on the Cornhill as part of SPILL festival. Chorus is a monumental and impressive i

Chorus by Ray Lee on the Cornhill as part of SPILL festival 2021. Chorus is a monumental and impressive installation of kinetic sound sculptures - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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Lavenham Literary Festival
November 18-20
Various venues in Lavenham

A friendly festival in the beautiful medieval setting of Lavenham where authors and audiences come together to celebrate a shared love of books. The Saturday session will be opened by festival favourite Tracy Borman. Check the website as details are confirmed at lavenhamliteraryfestival.co.uk